—The familiar chant from The Frogs
Aristophanes was an Athenian comic playwright (5th-4th century BC). His works are often characterized as Satire, which is quite remarkable--the Greeks never really went in for satire that much, to the point where they didn't even have a word for it (the genre was considered to be an innovation of the Romans, who were rather fonder of the style).
His notable plays include The Clouds (Νεφέλαι, Nephelai), which famously lampooned Socrates; The Wasps (Σφῆκες, Sphékes), a satire of contemporary litigious society; The Birds (Ὄρνιθες, Ornithes), which features the original Cloudcuckooland; Lysistrata (Λυσιστράτη), in which the women of Greece bring about the end of a war by going on a sex strike; and The Frogs (Βάτραχοι, Batrachoi), in which Euripides and Aeschylus contend in the afterlife for the title of Best Tragic Poet. (Many of his plays, in what was then a common convention, were named after the role adopted by the Greek Chorus; Lysistrata, named after the lead character, is the only exception out of those listed here.)
- Acceptable Breaks From Reality: The use of a flute for nightingale song, due to the actor's lack of an oscine syrinx.
- Bald of Awesome: His own!
- Black Comedy Rape
- Bring My Brown Pants
- Dirty Old Woman
- Dumb Muscle: Heracles fits this stereotype when he appears, for example as a member of the embassy to Cloudcuckooland in The Birds.
- Floating Continent
- Funny Foreigner: Triballos, the "barbarian god" that is sent as an ambassador to Cloudcuckooland in The Birds.
- Gag Penis
- Gender Bender: Mnesilochus in The Poet And The Women.
- Greek Chorus
- Hilarity Ensues: Duh
- Have You Seen My God?
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall
- Missing Episode: Not all his plays survived the fall of the Roman Empire.
- Though also something of an inversion- virtually all other examples of Athenian Old Comedy are lost to us, the surviving Aristophanic plays being the only ones remaining.
- No Fourth Wall
- Nostalgia Ain't Like It Used to Be: Aristophanes wasn't fond of modernity and clearly thought that Greece used to be a much sweeter place a few decades before his plays. Since most of his works were written during the Peloponnesian War, he wasn't completely wrong.
- Rule of Funny
- Swapped Roles: Dionysos and his mortal servant disguise themselves as each other in The Frogs.
- Take That: Euripides is one of the most frequent targets.
- Talk to the Fist, thou fraudulent soothsayer! (from The Birds)
- War Is Hell